COVID-19

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Open access

Vladimir A. Ljubimov, Robin Babadjouni, Joseph Ha, Viktoria O. Krutikova, Jeffrey A. Koempel, Jason Chu, and Peter A. Chiarelli

BACKGROUND

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an ongoing viral pandemic that has affected modern medical practice and can complicate known pathology. The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes symptoms that may mimic a viral pneumonia, with potential for serious sequelae, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, coagulopathy, multiorgan dysfunction, systemic vascular abnormalities, and secondary infection.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of a 15-year-old boy who presented with a right subdural empyema and sinusitis while having active COVID-19 infection. The patient initially presented with left-sided weakness, frontal sinusitis, and subdural empyema. Emergent surgery was performed for evacuation of empyema and sinus debridement. Samples of purulent material within the subdural space were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The patient had a successful recovery and regained the use of his right side after combined treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a bacterial subdural empyema associated with frontal sinusitis in a coinfected patient with COVID-19 without evidence of COVID-19 intracranial infection.

LESSONS

A subdural empyema, which is a surgical emergency, was likely a superinfection caused by COVID-19. This, along with the coagulopathy caused by the virus, introduced unique challenges to the treatment of a known pathology.

Free access

Mohamed Fawzy M. Khattab, David A. W. Sykes, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Romaric Waguia, Amr Montaser, Sherief El Ghamry, and Youssry Elhawary

OBJECTIVE

Despite tremendous advancements in biomedical science and surgical technique, spine surgeries are still associated with considerable rates of morbidity and mortality, particularly in the elderly. Multiple novel techniques have been employed in recent years to adequately treat spinal diseases while mitigating the perioperative morbidity associated with traditional spinal surgery. Some of these techniques include minimally invasive methods and novel anesthetic and analgesic methods. In recent years, awake spine surgery with spinal anesthesia has gained attention as an alternative to general anesthesia (GA). In this study, the authors retrospectively reviewed a single-institution Egyptian experience with awake spine surgery using spinal anesthesia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS

Overall, 149 patients who were admitted to As-Salam International Hospital in Cairo for lumbar and lower thoracic spine surgeries, between 2019 and 2020, were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics and comorbidities were collected and analyzed. Visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were assessed at different time intervals including preoperatively, immediately after surgery, and 1 year postoperatively. Patient satisfaction was queried through a questionnaire assessing patient preference for traditional anesthesia or spinal anesthesia.

RESULTS

Of the 149 patients who successfully received spine surgery with spinal anesthesia, there were 49 males and 100 females. The cohort age ranged from 22 to 85 years with a mean of 47.5 years. The operative time ranged from 45 to 300 minutes with a mean estimated blood loss (EBL) of 385 ± 156 mL. No major cardiopulmonary or intraoperative complications occurred, and patients were able to eat immediately after surgery. Patients were able to ambulate without an assistive device 6 to 8 hours after surgery. Decompression and fusion patients were discharged on postoperative days 2 and 3, respectively. VAS and ODI scores demonstrated excellent pain relief, which was maintained at the 1-year postoperative follow-up. No 30- or 90-day readmissions were recorded. Of 149 patients, 124 were satisfied with spinal anesthesia and would recommend spinal anesthesia to other patients. The remaining patients were not satisfied with spinal anesthesia but reported being pleased with their postoperative clinical and functional outcomes. One patient was converted to GA due to the duration of the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who received spinal anesthesia for awake spine surgery experienced short stays in the hospital, no readmissions, patient satisfaction, and well-controlled pain. The results of this study have validated the growing body of literature that demonstrates that awake spine surgery with spinal anesthesia is safe and associated with superior outcomes compared with traditional GA. Additionally, the ability to address chronic debilitating conditions, such as spinal conditions, with minimal use of valuable resources, such as ventilators, proved useful during the COVID-19 pandemic and could be a model should other stressors on healthcare systems arise, especially in developing areas of the world.

Open access

Carmen R. Holmes, Giuseppe Lanzino, and Kelly D. Flemming

BACKGROUND

Little is known about whether coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) influences cavernous malformation (CM) formation or hemorrhage risk.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 31-year-old patient who developed a hemorrhagic, de novo CM in the setting of a developmental venous anomaly within 3 months of COVID-19 respiratory disease. The authors speculate that COVID-19 disease stimulated formation of the CM through TLR4 inflammatory pathways and subsequently led to the hemorrhagic presentation because of hypercoagulability related to the disease.

LESSONS

This case raises the possibility that COVID-19 may be a risk factor for de novo development of CMs in predisposed patients.

Open access

Johnson Ku, Chieh-Yi Chen, Jason Ku, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, and Yu-Shu Yen

BACKGROUND

Nasal swab tests are one of the most essential tools for screening coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The authors report a rare case of iatrogenic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak from the anterior skull base after repeated nasal swab tests for COVID-19, which was treated with endoscopic endonasal repair.

OBSERVATIONS

A 41-year-old man presented with clear continuous rhinorrhea through his left nostril for 5 days after repeated nasal swabbing for COVID-19. There were no obvious risk factors for spontaneous CSF leak. Computed tomography cisternography showed contrast accumulation in the left olfactory fossa and along the left nasal cavity. Such findings aligned with a preliminary diagnosis of CSF leakage through the left cribriform plate. Magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the presence of a CSF fistula between his left cribriform plate and superior nasal concha. The patient underwent endoscopic endonasal repair. CSF rhinorrhea ceased after the surgery, and no recurrence was noted during the 12-week postoperative follow-up period.

LESSONS

Although rare, iatrogenic CSF leakage can be a serious complication following COVID-19 nasal swab tests, especially when infection may cause significant neurological sequelae. Healthcare providers should become familiar with nasal cavity anatomy and be well trained in performing nasal swab tests.

Restricted access

Federico Russo, Marco Valentini, Daniele Sabatino, Michele Cerati, Carla Facco, Paolo Battaglia, Mario Turri-Zanoni, Paolo Castelnuovo, and Apostolos Karligkiotis

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents the greatest public health emergency of this century. The primary mode of viral transmission is droplet transmission through direct contact with large droplets generated during breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing. However, the virus can also demonstrate airborne transmission through smaller droplets (< 5 μm in diameter) generated during various medical procedures, collectively termed aerosol-generating procedures. The aim of this study was to analyze droplet contamination of healthcare workers and splatter patterns in the operating theater that resulted from endoscopic transnasal procedures in noninfected patients.

METHODS

A prospective nonrandomized microscopic evaluation of contaminants generated during 10 endoscopic transnasal procedures performed from May 14 to June 11, 2020, in the same operating theater was carried out. A dilution of monosodium fluorescein, repeatedly instilled through nasal irrigation, was used as a marker of contaminants generated during surgical procedures. Contaminants were collected on detectors worn by healthcare workers and placed in standard points in the operating theater. Analysis of number, dimensions, and characteristics of contaminants was carried out with fluorescence microscopy.

RESULTS

A total of 70 samples collected from 10 surgical procedures were analyzed. Liquid droplets and solid-tissue fragments were identified as contaminants on all detectors analyzed. All healthcare workers appeared to have been exposed to a significant number of contaminants. A significant degree of contamination was observed in every site of the operating room. The mean (range) diameter of liquid droplets was 4.1 (1.0–26.6) μm and that of solid fragments was 23.6 (3.5–263.3) μm.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal surgery is associated with the generation of large amounts of contaminants, some of which measure less than 5 μm. All healthcare workers in the surgical room are exposed to a significant and similar risk of contamination; therefore, adequate personal protective equipment should be employed when performing endoscopic endonasal surgical procedures.

Restricted access

Federico Russo, Marco Valentini, Daniele Sabatino, Michele Cerati, Carla Facco, Paolo Battaglia, Mario Turri-Zanoni, Paolo Castelnuovo, and Apostolos Karligkiotis

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents the greatest public health emergency of this century. The primary mode of viral transmission is droplet transmission through direct contact with large droplets generated during breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing. However, the virus can also demonstrate airborne transmission through smaller droplets (< 5 μm in diameter) generated during various medical procedures, collectively termed aerosol-generating procedures. The aim of this study was to analyze droplet contamination of healthcare workers and splatter patterns in the operating theater that resulted from endoscopic transnasal procedures in noninfected patients.

METHODS

A prospective nonrandomized microscopic evaluation of contaminants generated during 10 endoscopic transnasal procedures performed from May 14 to June 11, 2020, in the same operating theater was carried out. A dilution of monosodium fluorescein, repeatedly instilled through nasal irrigation, was used as a marker of contaminants generated during surgical procedures. Contaminants were collected on detectors worn by healthcare workers and placed in standard points in the operating theater. Analysis of number, dimensions, and characteristics of contaminants was carried out with fluorescence microscopy.

RESULTS

A total of 70 samples collected from 10 surgical procedures were analyzed. Liquid droplets and solid-tissue fragments were identified as contaminants on all detectors analyzed. All healthcare workers appeared to have been exposed to a significant number of contaminants. A significant degree of contamination was observed in every site of the operating room. The mean (range) diameter of liquid droplets was 4.1 (1.0–26.6) μm and that of solid fragments was 23.6 (3.5–263.3) μm.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal surgery is associated with the generation of large amounts of contaminants, some of which measure less than 5 μm. All healthcare workers in the surgical room are exposed to a significant and similar risk of contamination; therefore, adequate personal protective equipment should be employed when performing endoscopic endonasal surgical procedures.

Restricted access

Neelan J. Marianayagam, Ishani D. Premaratne, Michelle M. Buontempo, Francis N. Villamater, Mark M. Souweidane, and Caitlin E. Hoffman

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to carry out a quantitative analysis of a virtual craniofacial clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS

The charts of 90 patients from a single institution were reviewed. Of these patients, 45 visited the virtual clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The other 45 patients visited the clinic in the 3 months prior to COVID-19. Demographics including the mean age at the visit, chief complaint, visit diagnosis, appointment duration, helmet usage, accuracy of the diagnosis, need for a CT scan, and the need for a follow-up appointment were assessed. Diagnostic accuracy, the frequency of follow-up appointments, and patient satisfaction (via survey), as well as additional associated factors, were analyzed to determine the efficacy and satisfaction associated with the virtual clinic approach.

RESULTS

The mean patient age at time of the visit was 5.6 and 7.3 months (p = 0.244), and the mean time from referral to appointment was 19.2 and 19 days (p = 0.934), in the in-person and virtual cohorts, respectively. There was no significant difference in the variety of chief complaints between the in-person and virtual visits, with 97.8% and 93.3% of patients’ parents reporting abnormal head shape, respectively, and the remainder reporting more infrequent complaints (p = 0.435). The visit diagnosis was plagiocephaly in 93.3% of the in-person cohort and 80.0% of the virtual cohort (p = 0.118). The final diagnosis exhibited a similar pattern, with 95.6% of the in-person cohort and 88.9% of the virtual cohort observed as positional plagiocephaly; the remaining diagnoses were more infrequent (p = 0.434). The most common alternative diagnosis in the virtual visit cohort was a metopic ridge (8.4%). In the in-person visit cohort, the most common alternative diagnosis was equally a benign enlargement of the subarachnoid space in infancy, scalp mass, and skull lesion (2.2% each). None of the patients in either cohort were diagnosed with synostosis. Eighty percent of the in-person visits were 15 to 30 minutes in duration, with the remaining 20% being 31 minutes or longer; virtual visits were all 30 minutes or less, with 95.6% being 15 to 30 minutes (p = 0.002). Helmets were prescribed for 2 patients in the in-person cohort and no patients in the virtual cohort (p = 0.494). Alterations in diagnosis were made in 2.2% of in-person visits and 6.7% of virtual visits (p = 0.616). Follow-up was required in 15.6% of the in-person visits and 31.1% of the virtual visits (p = 0.134). CT was only utilized twice, once in the in-person visit cohort and once in the virtual visit cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Virtual clinic encounters resulted in comparable diagnostic accuracy. The trend toward frequent follow-up assessments and changes in the final diagnosis in the virtual clinic cohort has indicated a level of diagnostic uncertainty via the virtual interface, which required in-person assessment for confirmation. This finding did not contribute toward diagnostic inaccuracy with respect to missed synostosis. The study results have indicated that telemedicine can be an effective modality in assessing craniofacial pathology.

Open access

Chase H. Foster, Anthony J. Vargas, Elizabeth Wells, Robert F. Keating, and Suresh N. Magge

BACKGROUND

The ability of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to cause neurological insults in afflicted adults is becoming increasingly understood by way of an ever-growing amount of international data. By contrast, the pandemic illness’s neurological effects in the pediatric population are both poorly understood and sparsely reported.

OBSERVATIONS

In this case, the authors reported their experience with a preschool-age child with hydrocephalus who suffered multiterritory strokes presumed secondary to immune-mediated cerebral vasculopathy as a result of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.

LESSONS

Growing evidence indicates that COVID-19 can cause neurological sequelae such as encephalitis and strokes. In this case report, the authors discussed a case of cerebral vasculopathy and strokes in a pediatric patient who was positive for COVID-19.

Open access

Reinier Alvarez, Rupesh Kotecha, Michael W. McDermott, and Vitaly Siomin

BACKGROUND

Providing the standard of care to patients with glioblastoma (GBM) during the novel coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a challenge, particularly if a patient tests positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Further difficulties occur in eloquent cortex tumors because awake speech mapping can theoretically aerosolize viral particles and expose staff. Moreover, microscopic neurosurgery has become difficult because the use of airborne-level personal protective equipment (PPE) crowds the space between the surgeon and the eyepiece. However, delivering substandard care will inevitably lead to disease progression and poor outcomes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 60-year-old man with a left insular and frontal operculum GBM was found to be COVID-19 positive. Treatment was postponed pending a negative SARS-CoV-2 result, but in the interim, he developed intratumoral hemorrhage with progressive expressive aphasia. Because the tumor was causing dominant hemisphere language symptomatology, an awake craniotomy was the recommended surgical approach. With the use of airborne-level PPE and a surgical drape to protect the surgeon from the direction of potential aerosolization, near-total gross resection was achieved.

LESSONS

Delaying the treatment of patients with GBM who test positive for COVID-19 will lead to further neurological deterioration. Optimal and timely treatment such as awake speech mapping for COVID-19–positive patients with GBM can be provided safely.

Free access

Jasmine A. Thum DiCesare, David J. Segar, Brian V. Nahed, and Maya Babu